Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What we do when it snows


I don’t know where you live, but around here, four inches of snow is a big deal.

Schools closed at noon for the 5 p.m. predicted “blizzard” last Friday, which dumped the most amount of snow I’ve ever seen onto the ground.

It even lasted until the next morning before quickly melting in the hot South Carolina sun. It was the most amount of snowfall in the area since 1989.

Everyone was in a controlled state of panic on Friday leading up to the predicted snowfall.

Our news staff sent out emails to each other about which “snow” shots to get around town for the next edition's front page. Good shots were to be of the snowfall in familiar places that people could make comparisons to.
Snow at town hall!
Snow on the golf course!

Government offices shut down early Friday, the state highway patrol sent out “winter driving tips” to the media including, “reduce your speed” and “make sure wipers are working.”

“Snow!!!” my friend texted at nightfall. “Look outside!”

I had known all about the snow by then. I had driven through it from my way home from work, which was a very weird experience and a little bit scary.

I found it hard to concentrate on the road when there were solid projectiles coming at the windshield. I wanted to focus on the little snowflakes hitting the windshield, not the road ahead.
Even with the wipers on the fastest they could go, and my glasses firmly on my face, I remember having to consciously tell myself to look through the snow to see the road, which was an adjustment.

I made it home right before the “heavy” snow fell, blanketing the whole city in white.

“Do you want to go to the beach to take pictures in the snow?” one friend asked. Snow at the beach??? How crazy is that!
“TOTALLY!” I exclaimed, blatantly ignoring the county’s advice to residents and “not venture out unless absolutely necessary.”

“So what is everyone wearing?” I asked as I piled into the warm, stuffy car.

“Long johns, jeans, chef pants a hoodie and a coat,” the fellow rear passenger said. It was a crisp 29 degrees Fahrenheit.
I wore that same amount of layers, too, only I added wool socks, gloves and a hat with earflaps.

On the way to the beach, we excitedly rolled down our windows and snapped pictures of snow on the trees, roofs, cars— even the road that had impressive clumps of snow built up on it.

Ohhhh wintry!!!

“Don’t worry, I lived in Okalahoma,” the driver said when asked if he was OK driving in the snow.

“Oh, does it snow in Okalahoma?” I asked.
Everyone but me laughed aloud, yes, of course, silly Jenny from New Orleans doesn’t know anything about snow. Which is true.

“Sometimes in Okalahoma we have to put flags on car hoods so the people clearing the roads know there’s a car there!” the driver said.
My eyes widened at the thought, and I imagined the scene as if it were in a movie.
“That would blow my mind,” I said.

There was no snowfall on the beach and we quickly remembered that the beach is generally warmer than the rest of the area.
Our faces fell as we crept closer to the coast and the snowfall turned to a wintry mix of sleet and rain. Rain is boring.

“Well, we’re not going to go take pictures of the beach in the rain,” the driver’s sister said from the front seat. “Let’s go get drinks!”

We went to the lodgy-est bar we could think of, which happened to be nearby and wood-paneled with a stuffed deer head inside. We threw snowballs at each other in the large, normally grassy patch out front. It felt like Christmas.

Watch out!!

The snow melted quickly the next day, although we were able to marvel at snow in the daylight, a first for me in the nearly ten years I have lived in South Carolina.

Hidy-ho neighbors!!!

Despite it leaving as quickly as it came, the snowfall remained the topic of conversation through the weekend.
"A RARE SNOW HITS our paper wrote on the front page, with pictures of well-known streets covered with a frosty blanket and children sledding (where did they get a sled??) down a small hill.

Even though it was less than five inches of snow, it became a memorable event for the people in this part of the state.

“Can you believe that snow?" People asked each other all weekend. “Did you make a snowman? Did you have to drive in it??”

Next year, no doubt, people will bring up file footage of the snowfall, photos of the cars at the car dealership all covered in snow (a pretty common shot by the local TV station).
“Remember when it snowed last winter?” people will ask. “The snowfall of 2010!”

I know that millions around the country — and world —experience many unmemorable five-inch snowfalls in February and scoff at our enthusiasm and wide-eyed wonder.

“I think it's pretty cute when all my Southern friends get excited for snow,” one Facebook friend up north wrote.

“Prepping for Snowmaggedon, round 2,” another wrote from Maryland.

Our snowfall certainly wasn’t snowmaggedon, but it was certainly a different forecast for us in the south, and worth remembering.

A New Orleans friend, who now lives in North Carolina, put the phenomenon into perspective: “It's the same here!” he said. “What kind of Mardi Gras weekend is this?”

Who dat!!-Jenny

1 comment:

  1. I am the author of "Prepping for Snowmaggedon, round 2." *takes a bow*

    The snow in SC would have freaked me out, Miss Jenny! Because,'s SC. But the mountains of snow that probably aren't going to melt until May around Annapolis, Baltimore and D.C. just look foreboding. Scary!


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